Old age brings with itself, wisdom and maturity but also quite a few ailments and disabilities. One such malady that hits people in their prime time is Alzheimer’s disease. There is a lot of research being done these days on Alzheimer’s disease as it afflicts millions of people around the world. Commonly known as senility or dementia, it is accompanied by loss of memory as well as inability to recognize people, perhaps even near and dear ones.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by being quite degenerative and is a fatal condition that afflicts people mostly above the age of sixty five years. There are some forms of dementia that also occur earlier than this age, which are referred to as early onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that more than 26 million people around the world are inflicted by the typical symptoms of this dreaded disease that was discovered by and named after the German neuropathologist, Alois Alzheimer way back in 1906. Given the widespread reach of this disease, there are concerns that more than 100 million people may be afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease over the next 4 decades or so. This explains why many researchers have shown interest not only in the study of symptoms and causes of its spread, but more importantly how to cure it and come up with ways and means to arrest it in its tracks.
One of the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is loss of memory and that too of events, facts and figures that have been learned just a few minutes ago. These could be the very initial indications of the onset of this dreaded degenerative disease. Sometimes doctors also prescribe a brain scan to confirm that the condition is indeed Alzheimer’s. With the progression of the disease, there are more severe symptoms and indications like loss of memory for long term, irritability and even conditions like mood swings some of which could lead to unsavory and violent outbursts. In some cases, regression is also observed where patients could regress to a childish state, and recall instances and experiences from childhood, which seems quite unreal and inexplicable. Such people may look out for siblings or parents as if they had been transported back to the days of yore when they were young. Eventually, the condition progresses to such an extent that patients withdraw from society and from others and could die, given the gradual breakdown and shutdown of their physical abilities.
A Ray of Hope
There are some studies which seem to indicate that the prevalence of turmeric in the diet of Indians has seen to have a highly preventive effect on Alzheimer’s disease the incidence of which is very low in Indians. Consumption of coffee is also believed to reduce the occurrence of the disease in certain populations. In addition, there are some cholinesterase inhibitors that are used to help in memory loss and temporary treatments to Alzheimer’s disease. Till now, there hasn’t been a cure for totally eradicating the disease but some recent tests in different parts of the world have shown the promise that Alzheimer's disease can be diagnosed in its juvenile stage. This will certainly set the ball rolling towards discovery of new drugs that will bring sunshine into the lives of the unfortunate.
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